A funny thing… For some reason I sense that folks notice when I’m missing for a day or two (or three or four). I’m sure some of my Twitter or Facebook friends worry about my health, or about my over-working myself (while a few may suspect I’ve died of old age — grrrrrrrr…). All is well in Coach Chic’s little corner of the world, though; I’ve just been super-busy working on some projects that have required total focus.
Prioritizing has been a major problem for me in recent weeks (if not for longer). Part of the problem is that — as hockey seasons change, a rush of new projects become due. In other words, as the past hockey season came to a close, I suddenly needed to ready for my spring and summer programs, plus make sure that I don’t in any way neglect my obligations to CoachChic.com members. Oh, understand that I love all of what I’m into; the problem is in finding the time to do justice to everything.
As for those projects, I sense my hockey friends (as well as some others) might find it interesting what goes into such things. Ya, I know, you might think I just arrive at some distant ice rink and all just goes like clockwork. Ha…
First on the horizon is the start of my HS Prep program.
This, if you don’t yet know, is a 7-month long program aimed at readying some of the area’s top high school players for their brief winter season at their respective schools. In other words, 17 players come to me from all around the area, they’ll train with me from late May until Thanksgiving, and then they hopefully head-off to their own high schools being smarter, faster, stronger, better skilled, tougher, and in far better condition than their wintertime teammates. (Well, at least they will be, IF they listen to the old coach and pay their dues over the coming months.)
For a lot of reasons, we’ll begin our training in my little off-ice facility, The MOTION Lab. (<= If you don’t know about that place, the link will bring you to a video that takes you on a brief tour.) The primary aim during this time of the season is to lay the groundwork for all we’ll be doing over the coming months. I mean, we’ll start working on the skating stride — and proper muscle memory, and we’ll start slowly honing some of the skills that will be taken to more intense levels down the road.
My guys will all be asked to bring their own jump ropes to every team function from here onward. Yup, I’m into building athletes — first and foremost, and rope skipping is just one step in that direction.
My players also need to become pretty good at some gymnastics movements, including tumbling.
Their skating motions (and proper muscle memory) will be enhanced through use of slide boards and two other gadgets non-NEHI-ers probably wouldn’t know about. One of those is my own invention, the Skater’s Rhythm-bar, this aimed at giving the guys rhythm in their movements. The other gadget has just been hinted at in an installment of “You Don’t Need Ice!” (<= and you can gain access to that FREE video series by clicking on that link). I promise I will let you know about that unbelievable training device as soon as it’s ready to be released.
Then, we’ll also work just briefly with our agility ladders and on some introductory sprint exercises, because those skills are going to take center stage in the next phase of our training.
Yes, the next phase of our training… For, as our workouts in the Lab wind down, we’ll head outdoors for weekly sprint training and agility work. In a way, we’re taking what we began in the Lab and we’re really getting into it.
Rope skipping makes for a nice dynamic warm-up in these outdoor sessions, not to mention a continuation of the kids’ work at athleticism. But we’ll ultimately take that skill to new levels, gradually having the kids perform new tricks with their ropes. They’ll even ultimately form groups of threes, with two players twirling a long rope as a guy in the middle attempts to dribble a puck or ball. And, while some readers might be wondering if this is even do-able, let me tell you that my best players will eventually be able to dribble a ball in the air without missing a single swing of the rope. Aaaaah, you ought to see ’em. 🙂
As for our work with ladders, understand that all elite level athletes now use them — from high level football players to soccer players to basketball-ers to hockey players. Why? Because it’s scientifically proven that such skills transfer right to an athlete’s primary sport. Yes, those who can negotiate the ladder quickly will also demonstrate quick footwork on the ice.
And so is it scientifically proven that sprint training WILL increase a skater’s on-ice speed. It’s a fact: the faster one can run, the faster he or she can skate.
Oh, I have some nice mats in the Lab, but I don’t take them out to the dusty sprint training area. Naw, as I explain in the “You Don’t Need Ice!” series, I instead use cut-up carpet padding so that my guys can continue their athletic workouts outdoors.
Actually, our different phases of spring and summer training overlap a little, with the sprint and agility sessions often starting before our Lab workouts end. And, such is the case with our in-line practices kicking-in before the outdoor sessions wind down.
Aaaaah, there are just so many reasons why I especially love the workouts held at a local roller rink… First, that floor can double as both an in-line rink and a gym.
Once again, our jump ropes are always somehow used — with or without wheels. So are the tumbling mats, although the floor gives us the chance to combine all sorts of stickhandling movements with rolls of all types.
It should make sense that we’ll also continue our agility ladder workouts and at least a little sprint training indoors.
As for putting on the wheels… This is the time and place where we can tie together the striding exercises learned in the Lab, and I can also use this atmosphere to slowly introduce any new skating, puckhandling, passing, shooting and X’s and O’s ideas that I’ll later want the guys to be able to do on the ice.
Yes, then to the ice… As in other phases, we usually have a little overlap between the final in-line practices and our weekly on-ice skills sessions. And, I do mean “skills sessions”.
Sure, we’ll do some team oriented things during those practices. However, almost all of our off-season efforts are aimed at greatly enhancing the kids’ individual skills, athleticism and other physical traits.
Carrying the latter a bit further, let me suggest that our future breakouts, forecheck, attacking plays, penalty killing and powerplays are going to be FAR more effective if my players are more athletic, better skilled, faster, more agile, stronger, and so on.
Still, let me carry that last point even further… You might find it interesting that winning our fall league is not a priority for me. Sure, the parents like it, and it sure goes a long ways towards boosting my guys’ confidence. (Actually, we always do well in that league, and we’ve won it the past two seasons.) At the same time, I must keep my eyes on the REAL objective here, that being to send my kids off to their high schools far better than when they arrived to me.
Then, I forgot to mention… We do have an end-of-summer “camp” to pull our “team” together. This consists of three days at the roller facility where we can slowly walk-through plays. Most of the talking and explaining out of the way, we finish the week (and the summer) putting it all together with two days on the ice.
So, why has the old coach been missing from other activities lately? It’s because it’s an awesome task dealing between the ice rink and the in-line facility, and then finally putting it all together.
Then, these final notes…
We still need one more goaltender and one more defenseman, with Info Available Here.
Among my other current projects is some very similar type work (as I’m doing for my HS Prep guys) for my young Bandits Mite AAA Major team (this to be better explained here shortly), a summer program I’ve put together for Mites & Squirts (also soon to be announced), and a special 11-month long program for junior high school aged kids who want to ultimately play on my HS Prep team.
Okay, so now you know where the old coach has been for awhile. Now, leave me alone! 🙂